UK CMA Guidance on Greenwashing

News

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published the Green Claims Code in September of 2021. The Green Claims Code sets out to assist businesses to make sure their claims comply with law and to prevent greenwashing.  Previously, the CMA had already found that around 40% of green claims made online could be deemed misleading. As such, too many businesses are falsely claiming certain green credentials of their products and/or services.

The Green Claims Code will have an impact wherever a business makes claims about their products or services, which includes marketing, sales, communication, PR, social media, their website, and so on.

The 6 Principles of the Green Claims Code

The Green Claims Code consists of 6 principles based on existing consumer law. According to these 6 principles, environmental claims: 

  1. Must be truthful and accurate
  2. Must be clear and unambiguous
  3. Must not omit or hide important information
  4. Must only make fair and meaningful comparisons
  5. Must consider the full life cycle of the product
  6. Must be substantiated

During the first period of 2022, the CMA will also be carrying out a review of claims made by businesses to determine whether they are misleading.

Potential consequences

If your business fails to adhere to the Green Claims Code, you risk being taken to court by the CMA. Moreover, consumers may also start legal action when their consumer protection laws have been breached.

Beyond legal ramifications, non-compliance may also harm your reputation or consumers’ trust in your claims and statements.